Mad Men is back, and nothing seems to have changed. The same quality we have grown to expect is what we got with the first two episodes of the long awaited fifth season. High production values are still evident and the writing is still top notch. Characters story lines are as interesting as ever and the way they approached the long hiatus makes us feel that they too continued on with their lives. Writers and Staff were very hush hush about the plot line, this was criticized widely as there is probably not a thing in the new episodes that could be spoiled with a well arranged trailer. To me, they wanted to build more speculation towards certain plot lines that were left unclear. Did Draper marry Megan? How bout Joan’s kid? Is the company safe without Lucky Strike? (Spoilers ahead)
This new season clearly deals with age, new responsibilities, civic rights, social awareness, youthful wives and coming of age. Don Draper feels old, in this episode Megan, his hot young wife gives him a surprise party in which he invites Don’s office mates. Draper doesn’t appreciate it even though Megan sings a burlesque like song as a birthday gift for him that draws awes from most of the guests. Megan obviously knows about Don’s secret but quietly maintains it that way in the back of her mind in order to play out as the perfect Ms. Draper. She has also been given along with the title of Ms Draper a new place in the office, writing copy alongside Peggy.
Things in the office have been running as they were, tight budget, limited staff, looking for newer clients. Pete and Ken seem to be working out things as good as they can and clearly are the new direction in the agency. Cooper is still there and Roger is just playing around. The surprising thing is seeing Don so detached from his previous form. He is uninterested, looks happy, and is always smiling. For those who thought Draper was just getting married because of impulse, well you may be wrong. Megan clearly fits Don pretty well, or at least she has. This has Peggy frustrated as Don is no longer a person to follow. She now has to use her whole acquired expertise and use it to her advantage. She is not used to this and gets pissed off because of it, even making the usual classy remarks that most men in the office use in front of Megan in Don’s party.
We can feel the tension growing between Pete Campbell and Roger Sterling. Its a clear changing of the guard situation were Roger doesn’t know how to get clients on his own, and ever since he lost his big horse he doesn’t have anything to show for. He’s been spying on Campbell’s agenda flirting with his secretary and arriving to his own meetings first. Campbell is a smart man and quickly catches Roger’s strategy, this leads to a pretty funny moment at the end of the episode. Pete on the other hand is still very ambitious but in a more mature way. He is actually delivering the goods and has managed to keep the company alive in difficult times. Even though he has the title he wanted he is still not satisfied. He wants a bigger office so he can deal with the clients in a proper way. This brings all sorts of problems for Roger as he knows that Pete is right. Just before the end of the episode, Pete gets his office and plays a prank on Roger, he tells his secretary to write in his agenda that he has a meeting with Coca Cola at 6:00 am in Staten Island. Sterling falls for it.
Joan is dealing with the same issues she was at the end of last season. She now has Sterling’s child and has to deal with her mother pressuring her to not go back to work. Her husband is still M.I.A. as he has fulfilled his dream of being a doctor, even if it has to be in the service. She craves office work and starts speculating that maybe they have filled her role in the agency. She comes back to the office even falling in tears in front of Lane. A very nice moment emerges as Lane tells Joan that she can’t be replaced. She’ll clearly be back to her previous position. Lane finds a wallet in a Taxi Cab, he goes through the things inside and finds a picture of a young lady. He calls the phone number to give the wallet back but instead finds himself flirting with this girl. He is back with his wife but he undoubtably isn’t happy. Lane has become a funny easy going guy, and I’m intrigued to see what happens with his side of the story.
Betty Draper is a no show and the kids make a brief appearance in the beginning. Sally is the obvious main character between the kids and is sure to give Don problems with Megan. Don is the obvious main subject in the series and he is still as mysterious as ever. He may look happy with Megan right now, but I still sense he is not complete. Megan is a young hot girl that is obviously filling some big shoes. Its evident she isn’t in the same world that Donald is and it can be predicted that she won’t last long. The difference in age is evident much in the same way Roger is with Jane. Episode 1 and 2 were a fabulous intro to the long awaited 5th season and can’t wait to watch next Sunday’s episode. This is what good TV is all about.